Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common autoimmune diseases affecting primarily the joints. Despite successful therapies including antibodies against tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor, only 20 to 30% of patients experience remission. We studied whether inhibiting both TNF and IL-6 would result in improved efficacy. Using backtranslation from single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data from individuals with RA, we hypothesized that TNF and IL-6 act synergistically on fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) and T cells. Coculture of FLS from individuals with RA and T cells supported this hypothesis, revealing effects on both disease-driving pathways and biomarkers. Combining anti-TNF and anti–IL-6 antibodies in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse models resulted in sustained long-term remission, improved histology, and effects on bone remodeling pathways. These promising data initiated the development of an anti–TNF/IL-6 bispecific nanobody compound 1, with similar potencies against TNF and IL-6. We observed additive efficacy of compound 1 in a FLS/T cell coculture affecting arthritis and T helper 17 (TH17) pathways. This nanobody compound transcript signature inversely overlapped with described RA endotypes, indicating a potential efficacy in a broader patient population. In summary, we showed superiority of a bispecific anti–TNF/IL-6 nanobody compound or combination treatment over monospecific treatments in both in vitro and in vivo models. We anticipate improved efficacy in upcoming clinical studies.
Ozoralizumab, a Humanized Anti-TNFα NANOBODY® Compound, Exhibits Efficacy Not Only at the Onset of Arthritis in a Human TNF Transgenic Mouse but Also During Secondary Failure of Administration of an Anti-TNFα Ig
Although the introduction of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors represented a significant advance in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), traditional anti-TNFα antibodies are somewhat immunogenic, and their use results in the formation of anti-drug antibodies (ADAs) and loss of efficacy (secondary failure). Ozoralizumab is a trivalent, bispecific NANOBODY® compound that differs structurally from IgGs. In this study we investigated the suppressant effect of ozoralizumab and adalimumab, an anti-TNFα IgG, on arthritis and induction of ADAs in human TNF transgenic mice. Ozoralizumab markedly suppressed arthritis progression and did not induce ADAs during long-term administration. We also developed an animal model of secondary failure by repeatedly administering adalimumab and found that switching from adalimumab to ozoralizumab was followed by superior anti-arthritis efficacy in the secondary-failure animal model. Moreover, ozoralizumab did not form large immune complexes that might lead to ADA formation. The results of our studies suggest that ozoralizumab, which exhibited low immunogenicity in the animal model used and has a different antibody structure from that of IgGs, is a promising candidate for the treatment of RA patients not only at the onset of RA but also during secondary failure of anti-TNFα treatment.
Our paper in Journal of Translational Medicine shows that combination of dasatinib and other kinase inhibitors with a subtherapeutic anti‐hTNF dose effectively treats arthritis pathology.
Combination of subtherapeutic anti-TNF dose with dasatinib restores clinical and molecular arthritogenic profiles better than standard anti-TNF treatment
New medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) have emerged in the last decades, including Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) and biologics. However, there is no known cure, since a significant proportion of patients remain or become non-responders to current therapies. The development of new mode-of-action treatment schemes involving combination therapies could prove successful for the treatment of a greater number of RA patients.
We investigated the effect of the Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors (TKIs) dasatinib and bosutinib, on the human TNF-dependent Tg197 arthritis mouse model. The inhibitors were administered either as a monotherapy or in combination with a subtherapeutic dose of anti-hTNF biologics and their therapeutic effect was assessed clinically, histopathologically as well as via gene expression analysis and was compared to that of an efficient TNF monotherapy.
Dasatinib and, to a lesser extent, bosutinib inhibited the production of TNF and proinflammatory chemokines from arthritogenic synovial fibroblasts. Dasatinib, but not bosutinib, also ameliorated significantly and in a dose-dependent manner both the clinical and histopathological signs of Tg197 arthritis. Combination of dasatinib with a subtherapeutic dose of anti-hTNF biologic agents, resulted in a synergistic inhibitory effect abolishing all arthritis symptoms. Gene expression analysis of whole joint tissue of Tg197 mice revealed that the combination of dasatinib with a low subtherapeutic dose of Infliximab most efficiently restores the pathogenic gene expression profile to that of the healthy state compared to either treatment administered as a monotherapy.
Our findings show that dasatinib exhibits a therapeutic effect in TNF-driven arthritis and can act in synergy with a subtherapeutic anti-hTNF dose to effectively treat the clinical and histopathological signs of the pathology. The combination of dasatinib and anti-hTNF exhibits a distinct mode of action in restoring the arthritogenic gene signature to that of a healthy profile. Potential clinical applications of combination therapies with kinase inhibitors and anti-TNF agents may provide an interesting alternative to high-dose anti-hTNF monotherapy and increase the number of patients responding to treatment.
Biomedcode has been recognized by the Pharma Tech Outlook magazine as one of the top 10 CROs of the year 2020. An interview with Biomedcode’s CEO and CSO is published in this month’s special edition on Europe’s CROs.
Biomedcode is excited to participate as one of the 63 European companies that have been selected to join the EUGATEWAY Healthcare and Medical Technologies Business Mission to Singapore on 8-11 December 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this will be a virtual event and we look forward to discussing with potential new partners and clients about future collaborations!
During rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment, long-term injection of antitumor necrosis factor α antibodies (anti-TNFα Abs) may induce on-target toxicities, including severe infections (tuberculosis [TB] or septic arthritis) and malignancy. Here, we used an immunoglobulin
G1 (IgG1) hinge as an Ab lock to cover the TNFα-binding site of Infliximab by linking it with matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) -2/9 substrate to generate pro-Infliximab that can be specif- ically activated in the RA region to enhance the selectivity and safety of treatment. The Ab lock significantly inhibits the TNFα binding and reduces the anti-idiotypic (anti-Id) Ab binding to pro-Infliximab by 395-fold, 108-fold compared with Infliximab, respectively, and MMP-2/9 can completely restore the TNFα neutralizing ability of pro-Infliximab to block TNFα down- stream signaling. Pro-Infliximab was only selectively activated in the disease site (mouse paws) and presented similar pharmacokinetics (PKs) and bio-distribution to Infliximab. Fur- thermore, pro-Infliximab not only provided equivalent therapeutic efficacy to Infliximab but also maintained mouse immunity against Listeria infection in the RA mouse model, leading to a significantly higher survival rate (71%) than that of the Infliximab treatment group (0%). The high-selectivity pro-Infliximab maintains host immunity and keeps the original therapeu- tic efficiency, providing a novel strategy for RA therapy.
Targeting TNF-α as a treatment modality has shown tremendous success, however there are several limitations associated with the current anti-TNF-α biologic drugs including: immunogenicity, life-threatening infections, resistance to treatment, complexity of manufacture and cost of treatment. Ubah et al. report the in vivo efficacy of novel anti-TNF-α formats generated from molecular engineering of variable new antigen receptors (VNARs), originally derived from the immune system of an immunized nurse shark.